What Is CKAD? Definition, Examination, and Importance

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 5, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) is a certification for IT professionals who work on developing cloud-native applications using Kubernetes. Regardless of your background and experience in working with Kubernetes, pursuing CKAD certification can improve your chances of hiring managers inviting you to job interviews and learning about it may help you decide whether to sit this exam and further your career. In this article, we discuss the question, “What is CKAD?”, list its core domains, explain its importance, outline the CKAD examination process, and answer some frequently asked questions.

What is CKAD?

Learning about this certification can answer the question, “What is CKAD?”. CKAD is a certification that helps various IT professionals, such as Kubernetes engineers and cloud engineers, improve their proficiency in Kubernetes, helping them create, configure, and deploy cloud-native applications. Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration system that allows developers to automate certain aspects of the development process, such as software deployment, subsequent scaling, and overall management. The CKAD certification's general purpose is to standardize Kubernetes-specific training and improve the platform's overall usage rate.

Besides being able to plan, build, and deploy Kubernetes-based cloud applications, CKAD graduates are also proficient in using the open-source system's core primitives for various functions, such as creating, configuring, exposing, and observing scalable applications. Candidates who pass the examination can also better use and validate Kubernetes resource definitions, apply cloud-native app concepts and architecture, and work directly with container images.

Related: What Is Kubernetes? (With Uses and Benefits)

What is the CKAD examination process?

The CKAD exam is an online assessment with a maximum time of two hours. It includes a set of performance-based tasks that candidates solve in a command line. To prepare for the live test, candidates can access an exam simulator that provides two training attempts. There may be multiple ways to resolve a task, and applicants have the freedom to proceed however they deem correct, as long as their method leads to the right result. The areas that the CKAD certification covers and the competencies you're likely to gain by passing the certification exam are as follows:

  • Application design and build: CKAD developers are proficient in defining, building, and modifying container images and using persistent and ephemeral volumes. They also understand multi-container Pod design patterns and what Jobs and CronJobs are.

  • Application deployment: Earning the CKAD certification can help you perform rolling app updates. It can also teach you how to use the Helm package manager to deploy existing packages and how to use Kubernetes primitives to implement common deployment strategies.

  • Application observability and maintenance: Successful exam-takers can use Kubernetes for debugging and monitoring specific Kubernetes applications. They can also implement probes and health checks and understand API deprecations.

  • Application environment, configuration, and security: These certified IT professionals are likely to have a better understanding of concepts like ServiceAccounts, SecurityContexts, ConfigMaps, resource requirements, authentication, authorization, and admission controls. They also learn how to create and consume Secrets and use resources to extend Kubernetes.

  • Services and networking: Getting CKAD certification can help you understand NetworkPolicies, while also allowing you to use services that provide and troubleshoot access. You can also use Ingress rules to expose applications.

Related: 6 Common Examples of DevOps Certifications (With Scope)

Why is CKAD important?

Here are some of the main benefits of passing the CKAD certification exam:

  • Improves the relevant skills that help you successfully work as a Kubernetes application developer: A CKAD certification proves that you're proficient in using cloud-native app concepts and architecture, container images in your work, and other modern skills required to build apps using Kubernetes.

  • Curriculum is likely to improve your overall proficiency as a developer or engineer: The CKAD learning path is expected to be engaging, providing candidates with multiple resources to help them improve their Kubernetes knowledge and overall IT expertise.

  • Likely to improve your employment opportunities: A CKAD certification can demonstrate that you've mastered critical Kubernetes-related concepts, enhancing your chances of recruiters inviting you to interview. It can also streamline the actual interview process, freeing recruiters from having to test for this specific proficiency.

  • Can help you earn a promotion: Besides improving your chances of getting a new job, obtaining a CKAD certification can also help you earn a promotion if you're already employed. It's likely to help you improve the skills that managers are looking for in promotion candidates.

  • Can help expand your professional network: The knowledge and experience from preparing for and passing the CKAD exam may improve your networking opportunities. More people in your network can learn from your Kubernetes knowledge, as they may share the same skills and interests.

  • Enables you to earn the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) certification: The CKA is a more advanced certification that builds on the knowledge from the CKAD. An organization requires at least three CKA-certified employees to become a Kubernetes Certified Service Provider, so earning a CKA is likely to improve your employment and promotion prospects even more.

Related: How to Become a CKA (With Importance, Tips, and FAQs)

Frequently asked questions about CKAD

Here are some FAQs regarding the CKAD certification and examination process:

Who can earn a CKAD certification?

The CKAD certification is created for developers who have experience using Kubernetes and want to improve their specific knowledge. Those with limited experience can learn the core concepts and use them to expand their proficiency. More experienced Kubernetes developers can use the CKAD to prove their knowledge when seeking new employment or promotion. The CKAD can be helpful to other types of IT professionals who want to learn effective ways to build, deploy, and configure Kubernetes cloud-native applications.

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How is the exam administered?

The CKAD examination occurs remotely, with candidates streaming video and audio while sharing their screen feed. This allows administrators to view all the candidates' monitors, with all footage recorded and stored for a limited time in case a situation requires review. Candidates can't have any other browser windows or apps running while they take the examination and usually learn their exam scores within 24 hours of completion. A score of at least 66% is required to pass.

Related: 8 Popular SQL Certifications to Advance Your Career

What are the system requirements for the exam?

CKAD exam candidates have specific technology and test environment requirements to meet. Here are the computer requirements:

  • All internet browsers are allowed, with the recommendation to use the Chrome browser when registering, as the secure browser is Chrome-based.

  • The candidate may have one active monitor with a size of at least 15 inches.

  • The internet connection must be reasonably fast and reliable, so the administrators recommend making sure that no other computers within the network are performing data-consuming activities, such as streaming, gaming, or holding video-conference calls.

  • Each candidate must check to confirm their microphone is working before starting the exam.

  • The webcam must be flexible, as the administrators often ask to see each candidate's surroundings to make sure there's nothing there that violates exam policy.

Related: What Is Cloud Migration? (Benefits, Types, and Processes)

What are the testing environment requirements for the exam?

The testing environment requirements for taking the exam are as follows:

  • A tidy workspace: Applicants must have a clutter-free working area that doesn't include any unnecessary objects, such as paper or electronic devices. Also, no objects—including garbage cans—are permitted underneath the desk.

  • Clear walls: The walls surrounding the examination area must be clear, with no non-décor elements like papers and printouts. Regular wall décor, such as a painting, is permitted.

  • Natural light: The room where the candidate takes the examination must have enough natural or artificial light to allow the exam administrators to see the applicant's face, hands, and entire work area. This includes not having any bright lights behind the applicant.

  • Visibility: The candidate must remain in the webcam's frame throughout the examination. Also, because there can be no excessive noise, completing the exam in a private space, such as your home or a quiet workplace, is advisable.

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